Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure from Manchester United in 2013 predictably left the club reeling. The legendary Scot won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions League and countless other silverware in an unprecedented period of success in English football.
Yet after announcing his retirement in May 2013, Ferguson advised the board to appoint Everton’s David Moyes – and he didn’t even last a year in the Old Trafford hot seat before being sacked for poor results. That left United looking for another new manager, and this time they appointed their first ever foreign boss.
Louis van Gaal had made himself famous for spells with Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but was managing the Netherlands national team when United came calling, and after taking the Dutch side to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Brazil, he was appointed as the new United boss.
He then embarked on a £150m spending spree, bringing Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao to the club in a bid to improve on last season’s seventh place finish.
So far, results have been inconsistent at best. There have been highs – the 4-0 win over QPR and recent 2-1 victory over Everton, for instance – but also crushing lows, with the 2-1 opening day defeat to Swansea City in van Gaal’s first competitive game in charge and the bizarre 5-3 thumping at newly-promoted Leicester City.
Despite that, Ferguson has finally had his say on the Dutchman’s reign so far, and says his confidence to rip the squad apart and bring in his own players has been ‘brilliant’.
“Louis van Gaal has made a lot of changes and, thinking about that, actually maybe he’s doing the right thing, to clear the decks and build his own team,” said Ferguson. “Because he’s got the experience and coaching ability to do that. The way he’s approached it I think has been brilliant.”
Do you agree with Sir Alex Ferguson’s assessment of Van Gaal so far?